For all intents and purposes, author J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a prequel in the Potter universe.
Returning to helm the movie is director David Yates, who did an amazing job with the last two Harry Potter entries, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2.”
I have to say, I liked this movie from the get-go. I’m not one to judge how great the “Harry Potter” movies were, but the franchise was solid all the way through. I would give the majority of them a grade of an A- or higher. Even the sub-par “Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets” entry was still a fun ride and romp to a fictional world usually reserved for the printed page.
Eddie Redmayne, who won a Best Actor Oscar for 2014’s “The Theory of Everything,” headlines this tale in which his Newt Scamander character is visiting the Big Apple to arrange safe passage for some other-worldly creatures. Scamander is trying to place his creatures in an alternate universe where they will not be harmed.
Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kawoski spends his time working at a can factory. He is a good man and seems pure at heart. Kawoski has aspirations of opening his own exotic bakery, but the banker refuses him a loan, crushing his dreams to no end.
Kawoski’s interaction with Queenie (Alison Sudol) is easily one of the more subtle touches in a big and grand spectacle.
The nemesis in “Fantastic Beasts” is Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves, who has no time for the shenanigans occurring in his precious city. He is fighting Scamander and does not waver on his position to ban him from planet earth.
What is also interesting is that Albus Dumbledore’s name is mentioned, but the Hogwarts headmaster is never seen. Another reference from the Potter franchise is the mention of muggles (aka “not-magic folk”) in lore and banter.
Also amazing is the grand score from composer James Newton Howard.
Every single frame of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” has a purpose. It does not wasting time with small talk or forgettable dialogue.